The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible

Canto The Third

What do I see? A frenzied host so glittering bright
With Blasphemy, the very sun has lost its light?
Who are they? See them, how they all come surging forth,
Foregathering from East, and South, and West, and North.
The scum of Germany, they meet in convocation
To whip their spirits up for still more evil action.
Already they have felt the Lord’s hand moving o'er them,
       Already they have guessed how Satan’s clutch could claw them
Down to a dreadful doom. Knowing despair full well,
They've felt like letting Atheism go to Hell.
Then Arnold [Ruge] summons all those of the Free persuasion
To meet at Bockenheim in Hellish congregation.
“Arise, you Free ones all! How can you sit so tight,
When the Romantics plunge the whole world into night?
Or when Reaction stirs and, cunning as of old,
Almost has Science in its deadly stranglehold?
Bauer’s in peril. Of your thoughts and writings, most
Go straight up to the raving Censor and are lost.
Free brethren, hear my Manifesto, all of you,
Of course, provided that the Censor lets it through:
High time that we as diplomats discussed with weight
The Holy Alliance in congressional debate!
Do you see how the high Police determinedly
Abolish everywhere one little word — that’s free?
And now the Lamb of God joins the Gensdarmerie,
And is about to sink to bestiality.
So onwards, then, Free ones; to Bockenheim we'll go;
Seeds of fresh action there united we shall sow!”
       Scarce was this Manifesto broadcast far and wide,
When awful urges, evil cravings surge inside
Each brazen breast to leave forthwith for Bockenheim.
Berlin it is that sends the most devoid of shame.
Broad Arnold heads them as they brashly march along;
Behind him mills a lunatic and loathsome throng.
And all that yelling gang, that Atheistic mob,
Is much more wild than ever was the jacobin Club.
That’s Köppen you can see there with his glasses on.
if Ruge but allowed, he'd be a virtuous man.
But Arnold’s raving fury has him so impressed:
He has a sword and wears it dangling from his waist;
It’s like a demon’s tail, a long and rusty thing,
And when he dances, see how bravely it can swing.
He’s wearing epaulettes and brandishing about
A stick with which to beat the thirst for knowledge out
Of flaming youth. Next, [Eduard] Maien comes along, the Free;
Familiar everywhere to everyone is he:
An Atheist born, the vilest love him well: Voltaire
Ever since birth has been his daily reading fare.
So nice, so soft, so small — Maien, you devil, you!
Those ruffians with you making all that hullabaloo,
They're not your nephews? Have you lured them in as well?
You'd take your family with you on your trip to Hell?
Right on the very left, that tall and long-legged stepper
Is Oswald, [Engels] coat of grey and trousers shade of pepper;
Pepper inside as well, Oswald the Montagnard;
A radical is he, dyed in the wool, and hard.
Day in, day out, he plays upon the guillotine a
Single solitary tune and that’s a cavatina,
The same old devil-song; he bellows the refrain:
Formez vos bataillons! Aux arines, citoyens!
[Form your battalions! To arms, citizens! — from the Marseillaise]
Who raves beside him, with the muscles of a brewer?
It’s old Bloodlust himself in person, Edgar Bauer.
His brown-complexioned face through bushy whiskers peers;
And he’s as old in cunning as he’s young in years.
Outside, a smart blue coat; inside he’s black, lacks polish;
Outside he’s dandified; inside he’s sansculottish ‘
His shadow’s with him, it’s a wonder to behold it;
His evil shadow’s there, and Radge [Edgar Bauer] he has called it.
See Stirner too, the thoughtful moderation-hater;
Though still on beer, he'll soon be drinking blood like water.
And if the others shout a wild: à bas les rois!'[Down with Kings]
Stirner is sure to add: à bas aussi les lois [Down with the laws as well!]
Next, baring greenish teeth, comes tripping on his way,
His hair unkempt and tousled, prematurely grey,
A soap-and-water-shy and blood-shy Patriot [Ludwig Buhl],
So smooth and soft inside; outside a sansculotte.
Wild Arnold heads them, Czar of All the Atheists,
And high upon his baton’s end he twirls and twists
Copies of Halle Annals. Next, there follow on
The crew that Satan’s picked to gorge himself upon.
       As soon as they arrive, in bursts the frantic Bauer,
Engulfed in smoke and steam and Hell-rain’s deadly shower.
He raves, a lanky villain in a coat of green;
Behind the leering face Hell’s offspring can be seen.
He hoists his flag aloft, and in an arc up high
The sparks of his rude Bible criticisms fly.
Who runs up next with wild impetuosity?
A swarthy chap of Trier [Marx], a marked monstrosity.
He neither hops nor skips, but moves in leaps and bounds,
Raving aloud. As if to seize and then pull down
To Earth the spacious tent of Heaven up on high,
He opens wide his arms and reaches for the sky.
He shakes his wicked fist, raves with a frantic air,
As if ten thousand devils had him by the. hair.
Next, from Cologne, a Youngster [Georg Jung] something of a swell,
Too bad for Heaven, too good to pass the gates of Hell.
He’s half a sansculotte, and half an aristo,
A suave rich gentleman with pleats in his jabot.
The pleats inside his soul add up to even more.
His pocket lining’s filled with demons by the score
With golden faces. Next, one who indeed disgusts,
The dawdling Rtg, [adolf Ruenberg] quite handy with his fists.
He has an evil habit: constantly he smokes
Hellish tobacco in an ell-long pipe which pokes
Out of his mouth, and which he never once removes
Except to give his utterance point when he reproves.
But who comes from the South as lonely as a cloud,
Disdaining sympathy, himself a one-man crowd,
A one-man host of Atheists fanatical,
A one-man treasure store of craft Satanical,
A one-man fount of wicked blasphemy and shame?
Help us, Saint John, it’s Feuerbach of dreadful name!
He neither raves nor bounds, but hovers in mid-air,
An awful meteor girt by hellish vapours there.
In the one hand he holds outstretched the cup that shines,
And in the other one, the bread loaf that sustains.
He sits up to his navel in a sea-shell basin,
Trying to find a new church service for the brazen.
Guzzling, boozing, bathing, firmly he maintains,
Are all the truth the holy sacrament contains.
A storm of shouts and cheers succeeds the first hurrah!
And then he must be taken to a public bar.
At once, all hell breaks loose; the uproar is so loud
‘Rat nobody can gain the attention of the crowd.
       They won’t sit still; they heave, and push, and shove around.
The Evil Spirit keeps them whirling round and round.
Their loathing of inaction gives them all no peace;
And futile calls for quiet continue without cease.
Then Köppen, that most virtuous, order-loving chap,
Flies off into a rage. “Is this the savage steppe?
Have you forgotten in this wild barbaric throng
What was the purpose of our journey all along?
O Arnold, trusty bastion, speak, start the discussion.
Will you not show us how to find the best solution?”
Oswald and Edgar shout in roaring unison:
“Now that’s enough of these disgraceful goings-on!”
Then silence fell. And Arnold, who, quite guiltlessly,
Had in the meantime been consuming beefsteaks three,
On the last mouthful seemed as if about to choke,
But managed in the end to get it down, and spoke:
       “Oh, what a lovely vision’s there in Unity: Free brethren, ever
       Ready for battle and for death, obedient should the Idea command.
       Reaction holds us by the hair, it lifts the stick with threatening hand,
       But it can never tame us, Friends, if we stand firm asone together.”
Oswald and Edgar cannot wait until he’s done.
They both jump on the table, then they shriek as one:
       "Ruge, we've had enough of all this talk from you!
       What we want now is deeds, not words. We want some action!”
A frenzied bravo! is the ill-advised reaction;
Everyone keeps demanding: “Action, action, action!”
Then with a mocking laugh shouts Arnold in reply:
       "Our actions are just words, and long they so shall be.
       After Abstraction, Practice follows of itself.”
Meanwhile, athirst for deeds, the wildly screaming pair
Have lifted crazy Bruno high on to a chair.
A crowd swarms round him and he’s hoisted really high.
Aloft, he hovers like an eagle in the sky.
With frenzied burning passion are his eyes aglow,
And lowering black with fury is his furrowed brow.
Oh, how he screams and raves. But opposite, alack,
The swart monstrosity has climbed Rtg’s back.
Hear how he raves and screams. just hear how both are raving:
“How long d'you think that words will satisfy our craving?”
Bauer. See you, O blind one,
       See you the Pious,
       How they draw nigh us?
Monster. Their pious corps
       Grows more and more.
Bauer: Bag’s at his tricks,
       Hoodwinking the public.
Monster. A pity the Lord hasn’t noticed how dire
       The need of the world for another Messiah.
Bauer. It’s not one Lamb we've got to impede us;
       We're faced with an actual flock of the creatures.
Monster: The Holy Ghost, we know,
       Moves in a thousand forms below.
Both: We're not just plagued with the Trinity;
       The Police and the Faith have joined up in a Twinity.
Monster: When they are vigilant,.
       Should we be negligent?
Bauer: When they are arming,
       Should we be yawning?
Voices are heard all round: “We're game for battle now!”
But Ludwig Feuerbach sparks off another row.
He roars: “Why should we waste our time with all this talk?
Who action seeks, let him get on and do the work.
The Free man helps himself, ay, he and he alone.
Whatever he achieves, he does all on his own!”
His glasses gleaming, Köppen jumps up with a bound,
His Jovian head commanding silence all around.
“Against united action, then, you take your stand?
But it alone stops matters getting out of hand;
The stream of Progress flows untroubled, undiverted,
And, best of all, the risk of bloodshed is averted!”
Edgar and Oswald shriek: “Confounded Girondist!
Out, feeble-minded dreamer; you're no Atheist!”
Then Stirner, dignified: “Who binds his will around?
Who would impose a law by shouting people down?
You tie his will and have the nerve to say you're free;
A lot you've done to break away from slavery!
Down with all rules and laws, say I!” This aberration
Has the whole Hellish congress in complete confusion.
The ceiling splits, and Blücher-Wigand’s seen aloft
Swooping into the hall on his own flying raft.
A paper dragon — Oh, Satanic arts! — he flies.
“What are you up to now?” he vigorously cries.
“See how I soar
On editions galore
Of the German Yearbook
I gummed them myself,
I bound them myself,
I, Blücher, just look!
If they can bear me through the air,
Need you despair?
       Woe, I cry,
With Frankfurt nigh,
Isn’t everything all right?
There is Peace and Union still,
And the Great All-Highest Will
For the high and for the highest,
For the low and for the lowest,
Is Conviction, Lodestar, Light.
       Woe, I cry,
From Frankfurt nigh
Has an evil wind come blowing?
Shall the Free ones not withstand
The Union’s [165] wind throughout the land?
Follow me and let’s be going!
To Leipzig! There I've mounted lovely batteries
That all the Pious hosts together could not seize.
The house in which I Hegelised of old
Has latterly been turned into A Safe Stronghold.
The Gutenberg and Leipzig be our rendezvous.
The book-trade’s centre shall be the State centre too.”
       “Yes, yes, to Leipzig!” cries on every side resound.
“Let that the centre be, our forces’ rallying ground!”
They all depart, with Wigand flying in the lead,
But Feuerbach pursues a lonely course indeed.
       But leave that show. I'm beckoned by a peaceful valley.
The Lord’s own City calls me — Halle on the Saale.
O Town of bliss, still faithful to the Lord you are!
To beat the Devil’s craft e'er brighter gleams your star.
Ruge poured out his pus on you to no avail;
Thanks to your loyalty, his schemes were doomed to fail.
He went off in a rage, nor has he since come back.
Town, thank the Lord who gave you triumph and good luck.
See all the Faithful, see the Chosen gathered round
To sing His praises with a sweet and pleasant sound.
Oh, what a fine assemblage! See that cobbler there
Whose feverish, skinny body spurs him into prayer.
The barman of the Temperance League is present too:
Pay him — he'll pour pure drinking water out for you.
God’s peace shines in the moon-like face behind the bar.
Truly, with firm-held faith a person can go far!
That little woman there is bowed with sinfulness,
And yet her stiff old limbs are bathed in blessedness.
All in a soulful shriek she sings a holy lay,
And mortifies her shrunken body night and day.
Next, there is Leo, Lion of the Saale strand.
His strength of faith indeed delights the angel band.
In faith he hurled himself the Hegelings [l66] upon,
In faith defended he the Altar and the Throne,
In faith did he improve, up-end, and set aright
Godless world history by Heaven’s shining light.
Go to the little room, O Faithful, enter in,
And sing unto your God a gentle, gracious hymn.
Oh, hear the little ditty sounding forth, to rise
Towards the Throne of Grace like fumes of sacrifice:
              "Lord, we are carrion of the beast,
       A poxy stench, a raven’s feast,
       A knacker’s pit of sin.
       From the womb we're bad outright.
       Crush us; it would serve us right
       For all our wicked sin.
       If Thou didst, then Thou hadst blessed us,
       Thus to wrest us
       From the cancers that infest us.
              Thou lettest us ascend to Thee
       Unto Thine Angels, fair to see,
       And washest us of sin.
       The Evil One Thou’st driven out
       Who filled our hearts with fear and doubt.
       Destroy and banish him.
       Sizzling, frizzling in the horror
       Of Hell-terror
       Leave him spitted
       For the wicked sins committed!”
And now the cobbler stands upon a chair to tell
In fearsome tones about the sulphur lake of Hell.
“Behold the dreadful gorge that spills its contents out,
Fire, pitch and sulphur over all the lands about.'
See how it stews and brews, spews demons up of fire
To gobble up the world of Christendom entire.
Black seeds of Hell it scatters ‘mid the race of men.
Great is the Lord thy God. The world is doomed. Amen.”
“That’s true enough!” shouts Leo. “Those demons are so rude,
They cover not their private parts and all go nude!
The Great Whore comes from Babylon with its pollution,
And that Great Whore is Reason’s Goddess, Revolution!
Bauer is Robespierre, Ruge’s Danton; and worse,
Feuerbach is Marat. O God, send down Thy curse!
Ye Faithful, watch the times, for cometh soon the Day,
The Day of God the Father. Therefore, watch and pray!”
       He speaks. But all stand thunderstruck and goggle-eyed —
It’s Brother Bag: he sees the Heavens open wide.
His mount’s the she-ass, mouthpiece of the Almighty’s Word;
She'll take him on his last ascent to meet his Lord.
With trust in God and strength to Heav'n he turns his eyes,
And says: “O Pious band, your works I recognise.
Thus saith the Lord: my servant ye shall all obey
That I have picked to lead my host into the fray.
Obey our Brother Bag, obey him as you ought,
And Satan’s craft and power he shall surely thwart.
Thus spake the Lord. I fell upon my knees and said:
But call me, Lord, I'll follow Thee where'er I'm led.
Then left I cheerly and the Lord’s Word did begin
To spread, the Lord’s good year, to all this world of sin.
Then in through many a wealthy castle gate I went
To visit prince, and queen, all folk of great descent.
But they, who ever thirst for worldly goods, and choose
To covet honours vain, received me with abuse.
They sat around the board in rich debauchery;
And cheek by jowl were lust of flesh and lust of eye.
I shook the dust from off my feet. The Lord then spake,
Stirring me in the depths of sleep till I should wake.
‘Shall the rich man see Heav'n, however much he try,
Or shall the camel pass right through a needle’s eye?
What bath been written? On the highways thou shalt find
The homeless wandering poor, the halt, the lame, the blind.
Bring all the maimed ones from the alleys home to sup;
Call those by fences, let your voice be lifted up.
They are the faithful ones, they are my army’s core.
Collect, recruit them, multiply them more and more.'
Thus spake the Lord. And 1, I come without delay
To you, the Faithful, for to do as He did say.
Obey the Lord your God. Soon will come morning’s light,
When with the Devil we must fight the mighty fight.
The Free ones mobilise; Leipzig’s their destination,
And Blücher-Wigand’s house is their fortification.
They've piled up books and bales of paper by the score,
It’s there they mean to dance the holy dance of war.
Stout hearts and steadfastness shall aid us in that hour,
When we go forth to storm the foul Blasphemers’ tower.
Assemble, brethren. Be ye strong in love and hope.
Hold fast to Faith. I see up there the Heavens ope.
Faith is indeed the Alpha and the Omega,
In faith, thou'rt truly great, Halle, Hallelujah!
In faith the Maid conceived the Son that God begat,
In faith was jonah from the alarmed whale’s belly spat.
In faith the Lord did promulgate the Gospel’s word,
In faith the Lord’s voice in a donkey’s mouth I heard.
In faith the blind one saw the light against all hope,
In faith do I look up and see the Heavens ope.
In faith do I cry out: credo ut intelligam,
In faith I cling unto the holy Cross’s stem.
In faith are all my deeds, in faith is all my hope,
In faith do I look up and see the Heavens ope.
Thus saith the Lord: now let my servant Leo be
Ale doughty Captain of the Halle company.
Go, visit every town and city in the land,
Find soldiers and field surgeons there on every hand.
By night or day allow yourself no respite, ever,
Until the Faithful army has been brought together.
Thus saith the Lord thy God, my refuge and my hope!
Farewell, dear brethren, for I see the Heavens ope!” —